Does the Prophet have the obligation to correct any mistake that he sees?

The Details of the Question

- Does the Prophet have the obligation to correct any mistake that he sees according to the verses of the Quran and hadiths?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The Prophet (pbuh) has the duty of correcting mistakes.

“We have sent down unto thee (also) the Message; that thou mayest explain clearly to men what is sent for them, and that they may give thought.” (an-Nahl, 16/44)

It is emphasized in the verse above that the Prophet was given the duty of explaining the decrees in divine revelation. Since he has the duty of explaining people “the issues that they did not know”, it is clear that correcting “the issues that they knew wrong” is included in that duty.

Similarly, it is possible to understand it from the following verse too: “Verily this Quran doth explain to the Children of Israel most of the matters in which they disagree.” (an-Naml, 27/76) Dispute about an issue indicates that some people made a mistake about it. In that case, those explanations of the Quran aim to “correct the mistakes”. The issues that are not clear in the verses and the ones explained by the Prophet (pbuh) are included in it.

Similarly, it is stated in the verse below that the Islamic ummah “enjoins what is right and forbids what is wrong” in the following verse: “Ye are the best of peoples, evolved for mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong, and believing in Allah.” (Aal-i Imran, 3/110) Doubtlessly, “enjoining something” means informing people about what needs to be done and correcting mistakes. “Forbidding something” means correcting the mistakes that need to be corrected.

Since that duty is given to the ummah, it is unthinkable that it should not be given to the Prophet (pbuh).

- According to a narration, Anas stated the following:

“I served the Prophet (pbuh) for ten years. He never said 'Ugh!' to me; he never said 'Why did you do it?' for something that I did and 'Why did you not do it?' for something that I did not do.” [Abu Dawud, Adab, 1 (IV, 246)]

It is understood from the narration above that he acted very tolerantly related to the issues that are not contrary to religious decrees and that were not about haram-halal; he did not blame people for such mistakes.

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